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Battle Ground Academy News

Luke Williams '23 Gives Back with BGA Experiential Education Grant

It was in his Lower School science class that BGA senior Luke Williams discovered his passion and career choice – engineering and robotics. In that class, Williams was given the opportunity to play with a Lego robotics kit, which sparked an interest that stuck with him.

Now, almost a decade later, Williams was able to provide that same opportunity to elementary students in Dickson, Tenn., by donating several sets of Lego robotics kits to Dickson Elementary School, which he purchased using his BGA Experiential Education Grant. The grant is valued at up to $5,000 and awarded to BGA students for study, travel abroad, or to create an enhanced out-of-classroom student experience.

In donating the robotics kits to Dickson Elementary, Williams wants to help the school launch an after-school enrichment opportunity for students to experience robotics.

“I know how much playing with those kits meant to me as a kid and how it put me on my life path. And giving kids a similar opportunity and a chance to have that spark, it is really meaningful,” Williams said.

For Williams, one of his first thoughts for the grant was to give back to others.

“When I was growing up, my dad was a huge giver, so I was always in the environment of helping others who needed it,” Williams said.

“I’ve always had the idea that when you have the opportunity, give others chances that they don’t already have.”

Not only did Williams donate to Dickson Elementary, but he also was able to use the grant to attend NASA’s Advanced Space Academy Elite Program this past summer.

At camp, Williams participated in sessions like flight simulations, jet propulsion learning modules, rocket building, and many others. While in the seven-day program, he was part of a team that worked together on various space missions, and his team won the Commander’s Cup, an award recognizing the top performing team.  Williams had previously attended NASA’s Space Camp Robotics Program where he also received the Hero Award which is presented to the top performing individual student.  During these experiences, he learned a lot about teamwork and leadership.

“On a team, everyone’s role is important and no one person’s role is greater than the others,” Williams said.

“Even the smallest jobs, they can have a large impact on the mission as a whole.”

After he graduates in the coming spring, Williams has aspirations of studying aerospace engineering and robotics, hoping to work with NASA or in one of the many other fields, such as jet propulsion, supporting space exploration. Because of his grant experiences, he is now even more prepared for that future.

“I’m thankful to BGA for affording me the opportunity to provide a similar learning experience to other students and to grow individually,” Williams said.

“My experiences at NASA’s Space Camp and in helping Dickson Elementary launch their own robotics program have been very meaningful.”